Monday, December 10, 2012

Random November

Here are some more random photo's taken by us :). 

"Thanksgiving Trees" - the 'leaves' have things that the girls are thankful for.
One of the ladies in the church made the 'trees' cool huh?
Dress-up day at Kingdom Builders
Frost - Girls were VERY excited, it didn't last long :(
Our neighbors granddaughter Katie had a 'play' with her school which the girls were invited too. The neighbors kindly took us (Michaela, Grace, Kate and me) into the city to watch it at Katie's school! The girls had a ball and really enjoyed having a look at her school which is in the CDB of Chicago. Afterwards the neighbours took us to the apartment building where Katie lives. The girls got to experience a revolving door for the first time, saw a 25 yard pool about 23 floors up and had a look at the view from the 23floor balcony! Afterwards they took us for an icecream at one of the local supermarkets. Very impressive supermarket, I bought some veggies/fruit there, it was a lot cheaper than in the surburbs (how that works, I don't know?). Mental note, when ordering icecream order the 'mini' version, as anything else is just HUGE!
A week day trip to the city with our lovely
neighbors, isn't it pretty ?
('bean' is on the right, you can see the walkway snaking over the motorway)
Lake to the left, city to the right, spot the traffic?
In the 'winter garden'
Girls eating icecream!
"Homebaking" HAHAHA SO FUNNY
(the mixes were CHEAP)
(notice the BLACK icing, blah)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Albert's Update 8/12/12

(sorry still no photo :( exceeded my upload limit, hopefully Albert can sort it out for me once exams are over)

The Final Stretch

The final whistle is about to blow. It's the business end of the Semester for me. I have completed all my Assignments, and have completed all my readings. I have had all my mid-term exams back, and the Lord has blessed me with some good marks.

Next week it's Finals time. They do things a bit differently here. We have 4 periods of exam taking time each day, and it is up to me to organize my time as to when I want to take the exams.

I have seven exams to do in the five days. A quick bit of Maths will tell you that I will need to do 2 on 2 days, and then one each day. I would appreciate your prayer, as I organize myself, and attempt to give an account of what I have learnt. This is not going to be an easy week, but I am sure that the Lord will give me strength. Prayers for the family would be appreciated as well, as they spend a bit less time with their Father and Husband.

Until I come out on the other side of exams, have a couple of days to catch my breath and catch up with my family, here are a few of the things that I have handed in over the past couple of weeks. Enjoy..

Apologetics Paper of Jehovah's Witnesses

Full Sermon on Philippians 2:1-4

New Testament Introduction Time Line

Thank you once again for your support and prayers, they help!



Thursday, December 6, 2012

Light Festival in Chicago

On Saturday the 17th of November we ventured with a few seminary student families out into the city (CBD) to watch the Magificient Mile light up. Here is the website for anyone interested As part of this was a parade as well as a sleigh with a kind of old man dressed in a suit with a few reindeer. It was quite a mission navigation the train (going in was easy, going out was sardines), trying to get a good spot to watch the parade (we failed) and getting back to the train station with about a million other people!

We had a BLAST, as you know of my previous posts of the city, I LOVE the city and so when the opportunity arose to go with some other students families I was ready to go!

We left home at 2.15pm, caught a 3.13pm train, arrived in Chicago about 4ish, got to our viewing spot about 4.45 and the parade started about 5.30. We caught the train at 8.22pm and got home close to 10pm. What a day!

Unfortunately we were unable to get a good viewing spot and so Albert and I and two very kind gentlemen carried all the four girls on our shoulders so at least  they could have a good look at the parade. Needless to say all of us were VERY glad to see Santa as our shoulders were numbing from the pain. Things we do as parents :). 

I tried to take some photos of the parade etc but most of them are very blurry. It is hard to take pictures with a point and shoot one-handedly as I was holding Zara on my shoulders with the other hand. Monique I needed you there to take some AWESOME shots so since she wasn't available you will have to do with my pretty average photography. Also if anyone knows how to turn video's please tell me, so you don't have to get a sore neck from watching my videos sideways!

On our walk back to the train station we watched the fireworks, it was almost worth coming just for that! All in all though a fantastic afternoon/night out in the third biggest city in the USA!

Waiting at the train station
Phew on the way in, we were able to get a seat!  
Isn't it pretty? 
The parade 
Chipmunks (Disney Parks had quite a few floats) 
Donald Duck 
More pretty city landscape 
A Hummer Limo 
About 1 MILLION people were there
Light beam truck 
Trees lit up 
Mickey and Minni Mouse 

Red nose reindeer 
Main sponsor 
A snowman? 
Police Horses 
Watching fireworks - Kate is on Albert's Shoulder 
 Sorry about the sideways movie

Waiting at the train station for our return trip home!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sunny afternoon in the Park

Another post for the grandparents (& family) so ignore if you are not interested! :). After one of Albert's midterm exams, he decided to have some 'time out' with the family and so we braved the local playground! It was freezing (literally) but had a great time just being outdoors as a family!

Girls climbing to the top
Yes they are MINE! 
Down again
The girls challenged me to climb to the top,
ok challenge accepted on the condition that they got
photographic evidence!
Who's the nice couple?
Father and daughter 3 time
Father and daughter 4 time

and again
My lovely family!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

News from HOME

The lovely Flo and company went to New Zealand in October and she took some of the girls drawings etc for the grandparents. She also took back some gifts from the grandparents! Thanks so much, it was very nice to receive something from 'home'!

Bag of goodies
Waiting in anticipation
ah finally a NZ flag!*
PS YES it did include a packet of TimTams but it hasn't been eaten yet waiting for a special moment, maybe when Albert finishes his exams!

*We hadn't thought of taking a NZ flag, we took books of NZ, an All Blacks Flag (which people don't know who they are? REALLY?, we took Murry our kiwi but no NZ flag! Also apparently one of the other NZ students set a precedent to fly a NZ flag on Waitangi day so we couldn't let the team down now could we?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Heart to Heart

(sorry no pics while I/we sort out our problem with uploading photos!)

It's been a while since I have done a bullet point update, so instead of giving lots of excuses (which I won't) I'll get straight to the point! Points in no particular order. 

  • Homeschooling - This is going pretty well. Michaela and Grace are learning all about early American History which has been extremely helpful with understanding the history behind Thanksgiving. I now now about Plymouth, the Mayflower, Squanto, Pilgrims, why Indians are called Indians. (Do you know why?* Extra bonus points if you do!). We have just taken a two week break and starting again next week. 
  • Health - I have had a cold/sore throat/couching in the past week. Where is the substitute teacher when you need them? Never mind I canceled school. It was going to be short week anyway because of Thanksgiving break. Albert has been fine but some of the girls have been under the weather but we are all improving and doing a lot better. Thankfully it didn't get so bad that a doctor visit was warranted. 
  • Thanksgiving - More on that in an other post. The short of it, we were invited to one of the students family thanksgiving in Michigan. We had a ball and were very humbled by the generosity and hospitality of the families involved! We also experienced our first snow fall! 
  • Our Social life - I'm not sure if you are interested feel free to skip. We try and have people over to our house regularly for fellowship and camaraderie. It is such a privilege to get to know the other seminary students, we are all in the same boat and so it is good to 'spur' each other on! We have also been invited by other church people, we have been to church events, seminary events, visited people during the day. 
  • Food/shopping - This can be quite a mission and so I've decided to do my main grocery shop monthly at a bulk food supply store and get fresh fruit and veggies weekly. Will keep you posted on how I'm going with that. Running errands can be a bit of a mission, it's busy (EVERYWHERE) and it takes time to get there. I try to go once a week on my 'town' day thus saving petrol and precious time.
  • Cost of groceries etc. Cost is pretty cheap generally but just like NZ if you want to eat healthy generally it will cost more. I've been able to pick up some cake mixes for 59 cents and a block of butter would cost me $1.99, so you do the maths. A lot of time people don't appreciate the 'real' home baking and so in order to cut costs I have used cake mix especially since I got it very cheap and second I was feeding lots of kids! Milk is cheap but milk powder is very expensive, huh? Anyway I've been using fresh milk to make yogurt the old fashioned way and it has been turning out great! A huge money saver and so much better for you. I still try and cook from scratch for health reasons mainly. It is a LOT cheaper to eat healthy than to go to the doctor!
  • Couponing/Samples - YES these deserve a heading all of their own! This has become my part-time job and I'm doing very well from this. I managed to score from the blogs etc I follow several free bags of chocolate, a $25 Amex Card from Fedex, lots of shampoo/conditioner/toothpaste/coffee samples and 2 $10 vouchers. I also do some couponing for all the toiletries items and are managing to get most of it for free or just about free especially: toothpaste, toothbrushes, shavers, shampoo, conditioner and cheap feminine products. So if you are planning to visit (PLEASE DO) then let me know in advance and can send you home with lots of free toiletries! (Just in case you are wondering about the legitimate status of this all, I wouldn't do anything that is illegal ie I play by the rules. One way I'm managing to get a lot of things free is that I'm 'recycling' store money, here is a link if you are interested in how it all works.)
  • - This is an alternative internet search engine which I use to 'earn' some extra money. The search engine is not as good as google, I use Swagbucks first and then google it if I can't find it. With Swagbucks you 'earn' Swagbucks randomly when you search. I have so far made $25 in Amazon gift cards. If you would like to help me earn some points please use my referral link to sign up. For every swagbucks you earn I earn them too up to 1000 swagbucks. 
  • Jobs - Albert is still going strong on the cleaning side of things and the ironing keeps coming my way, we are blessed. There is only one hiccup: Albert still hasn't got a social security number. 
  • Driving - Another first happened this week, don't LAUGH, I manged to go the wrong way on a one-way street. Once you realise you are going the wrong way it is not as easy to correct your mistake especially when five lanes of traffic are coming your way, it is not like you can do a u-turn! Thankfully it wasn't busy and I managed to right the wrong within two blocks! In my defense this happened in the CBD of Chicago without a GPS (I was just moving my car at the time). I did however use the GPS going into the CBD of Chicago, I was praying that nothing would happen to the GPS ie lose power as I would have been in the ........ The GPS is really a necessity as I wouldn't have know where to go if the GPS hadn't told me exactly which lane to be in. Again to give you perspective Chicago is the 3rd biggest town in the USA and so the closer you get to the CBD the more lanes (5+ each way) are feeding cars into the city! I used to 'fear' driving in Auckland, it is going to be a piece of cake from now on!
    (Did you know we have a squirrel (voice) stuck in our nuvi (GPS)? Ask me about it sometime or read my facebook status update.)
  • Study - Albert will give his update when he's got a spare few minutes but it is sufficient to say that he is doing VERY VERY well and getting EXCELLENT grades! That's my man! I have told Albert that he better learn to preach VERY well as I've got to listen to him for the rest of my life ;)! He has one more week to go of lectures and then it is exam week.

Prayer Points 
(I'm going to borrow this idea and phrases from my favorite school Faith! who has this in their newsletter every week!)

  • Praise - Alberts EXCELLENT grades, good health, for the people that show us hospitality and christian love in a variety of ways.
  • Pray for - Albert's final exams coming up, a relaxing break between semesters and that we are kept safe on the roads. (oh and can I add snow?)

*Columbus when he sailed out the discover new world thought he was going to India and ended up in America and so he called the natives (Americans) Indians!

Guess where we went today?

One of the local churches put on this performance every year for the community. Entrance was free with an offering taken for the Bible league! We were very blessed to be able to attend!

Albert was very impressed by the performance today and the girls did very well to sit through 2 hours of singing. 

(In other news, we were blessed with a piano yesterday and a Christmas tree with lights today! WOW)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Reformation Day 2012

On October the 31st when it seems that all of America celebrates Halloween we went off to a local URC church to celebrate Reformation Day! 

The celebration was held at Lynwood URC. I went with the girls as Albert had to study and clean. I also offered to help out and was one of the co-leaders of the 4 year old group. (Michaela was too old to attend and so helped me out as a co-helper). Each family that attended brought a bag of 'candy', we brought our big pumpkin full of goodies (photo in random pics post). The event was VERY well organised and about 10+ games were organised with the kids 'winning' candy for each game. The kids each had their own 'candy' bag with their name written on it, the bags also came in several different colours which suited our girls to a tee! (Purple for Grace, Red for Kate and Green for Zara!)

After the games were finished we were all summoned into the auditorium for the story of Reformation day and a small 'play' by a local christian school. After that we went into the church hall where we were treated to a hotdog dinner! A very well organised event with the focus on Christ instead of tombstones, ghosts and other horrible creatures!

Of course the kids didn't miss out on the 'candy' and went home with hearing the REAL story of the reformation as well as a HUGE bag of 'candy'! Albert warned me very strongly that under no circumstance was I to eat the girls chocolate bars! I resisted but when I allowed them to have one or two out of their bag, mum would have to have one too! That's fair enough isn't it?

Zara having a go at ring toss
Kate waiting her turn
Grace playing the bean bag game 
Zara and me 'collecting' her 'winnings'
Cute isn't she?
Grace at the lolly pop tree
(or suckers as they call them here????)
Zara choosing a duck our of the pond
Michaela, Zara and Kate having dinner.